Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

Measuring the difficult stuff & learning from the results

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I’m not generally a big fan of measurement fetishism (too crude, too blind to complexity and systems thinking). When I used to (mis)manage the Oxfam research team and wanted a few thousand quid for some research grant, I had to list numbers of beneficiaries (men and women). As research is a global p…

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Let’s Talk About Sex: why sexual satisfaction and pleasure should be on the international…

This guest post is by Chloe Safier (@chloelenas), Regional Gender Lead for Oxfam in Southern Africa, with thoughtful contributions from Marc Wegerif I was sitting at dinner with my Oxfam colleagues on a Sunday night, just before a country strategy meeting. Over grilled fish and cokes, I mentioned an…

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9 Ways to get northern constituencies involved in changing the world

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Like everyone else, if Buzzfeed is any guide, I love a good list. I’m also increasingly obsessed with theories of change. So imagine my joy when I read Exfamer May Miller-Dawkins’ paper ‘9 Ways to Change the World’, which offers not one, but two lists. The paper is an attempt to come up with a…

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Amartya Sen on dangers of climate change ‘obsession’

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Amartya Sen has an important piece out in the New Republic magazine, on the links between environment and development. It’s quite long, so I thought I’d offer my precis service. He argues that the attention to climate change is disproportionate, not because we should think less about it,…

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Why the MDGs were flawed: post2015 goals set to go same way?

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I’ve just been reading the findings of a research programme that concludes that the whole MDGs exercise has been plagued by negative (if unintended) consequences, and that these are a result of the whole process of setting goals and targets (so the post2015/SDG process is likely to go the same way)….

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What’s the best way to measure empowerment?

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Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) used to send me into a coma, but I have to admit, I’m starting to get sucked in. After all, who doesn’t want to know more about the impact of what we do all day? So I picked up the latest issue of Oxfam’s Gender and Development Journal (GAD), on MEL in gende…

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What works in reducing gender inequality?

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We’ve been having an interesting internal discussion on inequality over the last few weeks, and this contribution from Naila Kabeer jumped out. So I thought I’d nick it for FP2P A gendered analysis of essential services highlights the scale of the inequality challenge but it also offers useful point…

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What should we do differently when an ‘emergency’ lasts for 20 years?

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Second installment in my reflections on last week’s trip to the Eastern Congo The classic cliché of humanitarianism is the angel of mercy (usually white) jetting in to help the victims of a sudden catastrophe (earthquake, war, hurricane), helping them get back on their feet in a few months and…

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Rising food poverty in the UK

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Oxfam works on poverty in the UK as well as elsewhere, and is pretty alarmed at what it is facing there. Here Krisnah Poinasamy, Economic Justice Policy Adviser for our UK programme, introduces a new report on hunger in the UK. Today, Oxfam and its partners released Below The Breadline, a shocking r…

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Making the WTO into a force for good in Public Health

I’ve heard the name Jamie Love mentioned in reverential tones over the years, and a few weeks ago, I was asked by STOPAIDS to interview him in an ‘in conversation’ format in front of a small group of activists. It was fantastic fun (for me at least). Jamie is director of Knowledge Ecology Internatio…

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Labor rights in Indonesia’s sportswear factories

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I’d like to continue picking your brains on the drafts of a series of case studies I’ve been working on. Next up is some long term advocacy on labour rights in Indonesia. Here’s the full draft case study for your comment (PC case study Indonesia Labour Rights Project May 2014). From 1997-2013 …

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Feminists in Development Organizations: Important New Book

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At first glance, a book called called ‘Feminists in Development Organizations’ looks like a bit of aid biz navel gazing. But if you are working in a large bureaucracy and want it to do more on just about any big issue (women’s rights, but also environmentalism, disabled rights, tertiary education, u…

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Aid must change in order to tackle inequality

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Guest post from Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) Official development assistance – or aid – is under fire. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton argues that, “far from being a prescription for eliminating poverty, the aid illusion is actually an obstacle to impr…

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black peo…

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